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Garland to call Capitol riot 'heinous attack' and tell Senate Judiciary Committee he'll supervise prosecution of White supremacists

Posted February 20, 2021 10:13 p.m. EST

— Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden's nominee for attorney general, calls the January 6 attack on the US Capitol a "heinous attack" in his prepared opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which the Department of Justice released Saturday night ahead of his confirmation hearing on Monday.

"If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 -- a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government," Garland says in the statement.

The attorney general nominee plans to stress that the role is meant to "serve the Rule of Law and to ensure equal justice under the law." Additionally, he will explain why he is leaving a lifetime position as a federal judge.

"...(M)any of you have asked why I would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as a judge," Garland says in the statement. "I have told you that I love being a judge. I have also told you that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the Rule of Law."

Barring any surprises at his hearing, he's poised to become Biden's first attorney general, bringing a longtime jurist with a steadying hand to a department that's teetering between crises. Garland has served in the Justice Department as an assistant US Attorney in Washington, DC, and if confirmed by the Senate will step away from 24 years on the bench.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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